A major study of the media landscape, Death of the Daily News explores what happens to a city when the newspaper it depends on dies. Its authors sound a warning, pointing out that the societal consequences of local news deserts are not well understood. But it also suggests that there is a way for a community to survive. And, it shows how some people are trying to build a new kind of local journalism.
One of the oldest newspapers in America, The New York Post, started publication in 1801. For many years it was the only daily newspaper in the city. In 1919, it became the Illustrated Daily News. By the late 1920s, the Daily News was a popular tabloid with a circulation of over 1.5 million copies a day.
Initially, the Daily News espoused a conservative populism. After World War II, it became a moderate, liberal alternative to the right-wing Post. It gained a reputation as a newspaper of record and a voice for the voiceless. As a result, it was able to hold onto its status as one of the top-selling papers in the nation.
The Daily News was the first successful U.S. daily tabloid. Its focus was on political wrongdoing and social intrigue. It was also a pioneer in using the Associated Press wirephoto service in the 1930s. Today, it is a major player in Western New York.
During the 1940s, the Daily News remained a staunch Republican paper. From the mid-1970s, the paper began shifting its editorial position. Among other things, it adopted a more high-minded editorial stance.
The Daily News offers intense coverage of the city. Its opinion section is filled with award-winning writers. Several prominent photographs of sports and entertainment are also featured. They are accompanied by large, attractive photographs and cartoons. This makes it an easy read. There is also an interactive version of the newspaper available for online and mobile devices. Users can swipe through the pages of the paper and share stories through email.
Death of the Daily News explores how some people are trying to create a new kind of local journalism. It shows how some communities are overcoming the tragedy of losing their local paper. Specifically, it looks at McKeesport, Pennsylvania, a town that once had a population of more than fifty thousand.
As technology has pushed away traditional newsrooms, citizens are attempting to make sense of their lives through social media. A recent experiment in McKeesport gives clues as to how this may work.
Andrew Conte is a longtime reporter who has spent his career observing and reporting on issues that affect local communities. He has been a stringer for The New York Times and worked at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Through his work, he has been exposed to the weaknesses of traditional top-down journalism.
While the book is rich in its research and analysis, it is also accessible to the general reader. The author does a superb job of presenting the issues of the death of local newspapers. His empathy and sensitivity help him to tackle this subject head-on.